Is That All There Is?

I’ve quit whining about how old I am. No more fishing for comforting compliments to hear, “You look terrific – you couldn’t possibly be that old.” I’ve finally come to appreciate being an old dame, one who knows a thing or two about a thing or two. Best of all, most of the time I can even remember where I parked my car. An eighty-year-old face greets me in the mirror every morning, and surprisingly, I’m not repelled by her. The bones are the same, but the upholstery has changed. The “line fairy” comes every night now, leaving behind new wrinkles, brown age spots, and carry-on luggage added to under-eye baggage. Those deposits don’t bother me nearly as much as they once did.

I’ve decided that making the leap into an undeniably elder status has made me take this aging thing seriously. I’m easing into my new reality and learning to embrace the evidence of having lived a long time. I’m kinder to this body, which carried and fed three babies, endured broken bones, replacement parts, and surgeries to stamp out threatening conditions. Yet, it still functions well enough to allow me to do almost everything I want.

I am galloping toward my sell-by date and have gotten grieving for my younger self out of the way, so I’m spending less time contemplating the past and more time figuring out how I’ll make the most of the ride. I’ve always heard that time passes more quickly as we age, and at 80, time is practically in reverse! Weeks flash by, even though I’m isolated and have few pressing projects. I can count how many vigorous years are left to me on fewer fingers than I possess. 

Recognizing those facts makes me realize that I can’t afford to squander a moment. I’ve accomplished much in my life, but I’ve also frittered away too much time on useless yearnings, appeasing others, reviewing and punishing myself and others for shortcomings and bad behavior, and vigorously worrying about things that usually never happen. If there was ever a time to stop such nonsense, it arrived on October 1, 2020, when the family gathered to celebrate this old girl.

Many factors have contributed to my introspection. My husband, Tim Martin, died suddenly in November 2019. It was a terrible shock and a dramatic reminder of our finite human condition. I spent a year grieving, analyzing our years together, and facing a future alone. Those odious chores were complicated by my nearing that inevitable 80th milestone. Add to that our country’s unsettling plunge into lockdown and our harrowing political struggle, and you’ve got ] honest-to-god annus horribilis 2020. Those months of self-examination, not usually my frenetic style, have resulted in a new search for my place in the world.

The question for this newly widowed, newly octogenarian, newly single woman is what’s next? Or as Miss Peggy Lee so artfully asks, “Is that all there is?”  Next time I’ll share my discoveries about scintillating topics like sex, love, and rock ’n roll with you if you’re interested in my musings.

In the meantime, I wish you holiday greetings, a Merry Christmas, and a better New Year!

 

 

 

 

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  1. Marti Sullivan

    Lynne, I first saw you on a CBS morning show and quickly went to the bookstore to get your new book. My husband and I sold everything, got a 10×10 storage unit for the rest and travelled full time for nearly 4 years before settling in The Villages, Fl. We loved every minute of it and sing your praises to everyone for prompting us to take this journey. So glad you are writing again and Happy New Year

  2. Annita

    My Friend is Ba-ck! This is a wonderful column and is applicable to all ages. As a (what is a mid-60+ person called-sexagenarian?) who has been through a few things these past 2 1/2 years, some planned and mostly unplanned, I’ve come to realize how precious time and people are! All I want to do is see people. I am looking at a post retirement set of responsibilities in the business world that I would love to take on, but am being told I am approaching being too old! (Whether it makes sense is a conversation for another day.) But what’s worse is realizing the need to “get caught up” in a world where I thought I was. So… great post my friend. And I think all the time how blessed we were to have met you and Tim. I took the chance reading your 2012 WSJ article and reached out. You are so right. “Say yes” – if I hadn’t said yes to myself to do that I would have missed out on all kinds of great things because of you!

  3. Bonnie Headlee

    What a thoughtful post! You touched on many topics that I, too, have been wrestling with lately. So many times I have repeated your mantra, “postpone nothing!” to my friends and family and now it appears you’re taking your own advice to heart once again. I can’t wait to read about this wonderful new stage of life you are entering. Until then, I hope you and your fabulous family have a very happy holiday season. Big Hugs!

  4. Monica Haley

    Dear Lynn, I’m so sorry to hear of Tim’s passing. You had such a wonderful life together. I’m sorry you did not have each other for more years. You were excellent role models of living life to its fullest. But yours is not over. I know you will find your way to a new path of adventure. Best of luck to you.

  5. Yvonne Schenk

    Dear Lynne,
    I followed you starting sometime in 2012. I enjoyed reading your travels and it gave me an idea for when my husband would retire from his work in Los Angeles., doing some big travel. Well by 2013 we knew that starting in the summer of 2014 we would spend 2 years in Europe. We did travel for 2 years in Europe and my husband still wants to do it again… you were my inspiration.
    I am very sorry to hear of your husband’s passing and wish you all the best for 2021!

  6. Steve Goch

    Dear Lynn,
    Kathy and I were shocked to hear of your loss of Tim. Please accept our sincere condolences. As you may remember, both Kathy and I were widowed, so we have a feeling for your loss., but each loss is different.

  7. Gini Melnyk

    Dear Lynne
    I have certainly missed you since Home Sweet Anywhere. We exchanged a few emails back then. So sorry to hear about your dear Tim as loved your repartee & relationship.
    During a cruise to Santiago in 2017 we met a couple who blog “world Wide Waftage” & I follow them. Luckily our 50th anniversary cruise from LA to BA took place last Nov as wouldn’t have happened in 2020. We managed a Cuba trip Feb 14-28 before lockdown in mid March. Anxious to know what you have planned, Lynne as I will be with you. Stay well & welcome back. Gini

  8. Britton

    Lynne, I’ve enjoyed your ‘stories from the road’ over the years. You responded to my email in 2013 about Berlin just after you & Tim were there. We took the boat ride! You and Tim inspired me to look differently at travel. My condolences in losing Tim. But you’ve got a great attitude for going forward from here. I look forward to seeing posts from you!

  9. Steve Vicencio

    Lynne- you know who Peggy Lee is? Me too!

    Please keep writing or pursuing other interests. You can ping them off me and maybe I’ll be interested too. Keep active, look forward, and always smile.

    I’m sorry to hear about Tim. I’m sure you two had a great time together.

    All the best to you,

    Steve V.

  10. Jackie

    Dear Lynn,

    First of all condolences on the loss of your husband.

    Secondly, I have missed your postings and will definitely look forward to reading more of what you have to say. You write so well and have a great way of sharing helpful information.

  11. Dru Pearson

    I’m so sorry your husband died, but I’m glad to hear you’re moving forward.